XQD vs CFexpress Memory Cards

Amongst my arsenal of cameras I have a Nikon D850 and Nikon D500, both of which have dual card slots with one XQD and one SD card slot. I often warehouse my memory cards especially the inexpensive ones. The biggest reason is for a backup system in case I lose an external hard drive plus I foresee an advantage if I ever have to transfer old data its best to have the original source if I need it. I love that you can buy high quality SD cards which are inexpensive, plus I appreciate the fact that SD cards can be found almost anywhere. My XQD cards have performed well but they are expensive, and more times than not, hard to find. I often send my RAW files to the SD card slot, warehousing those, while using the XQD slot as my JPEG image backup. I have even gone with just an SD card when I couldn’t get a XQD card. So, when I the Nikon rep demoed the Nikon Z6 and Z7 for me, as soon as I noticed they only had XQD slots I wanted nothing to do those bodies based on that alone. At the time I knew Sony seemed to be the only one making XQD cards after Lexar went through their changes and I was wary Sony would discontinue the XQD cards because their cameras aren’t using them (apparently Delkin now has a line of XQD cards).

A couple days ago I got notice that B&H was accepting pre-orders on CFexpress Cards so I decided to educate myself more about the CFexpress card because I admit I hadn’t heard of it.

Basically the CFexpress Card is the same size as the XQD card with faster capabilities and they will replace the XQD card. I think cameras with XQD card slots will need a firmware update to be able to use the CFexpress cards but that should be simple. The great thing is SanDisk, Lexar Professional, and Pro Grade Digital (new company founded by former Lexar folks) are making the CFexpress cards so there will be competition and it looks like this card will become a standard platform for a while since it’s design allows for upgrades. Apparently this information has been coming out over the last year or two but its the first I had heard of it so I assume there are other photographers out there who also weren’t familiar with the CFexpress card so I am authoring this post.

related links you may find interesting.


Kishore Sawh of SLR Lounge